People Less Likely to Finish Reading Articles with Like and Dislike Buttons

 
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A study by Ohio State University showed that when users have the option to upvote or downvote an article they see online, they tend to spend less time reading its content. The study involved 235 college students. They were asked about their opinions on four contentious topics. Then, the researchers showed them four news articles, each focusing on one of the topics. Two versions allowed the students to express their views by clicking an up or down arrow, while the other two did not. The researchers then measured how long the participants spent on each article and whether or not they voted if they could. The findings showed that if the students concurred with the opinions of a particular article, they spent more time reading it than articles that they disagreed with. They tended to spend about a minute and a half reading articles they agreed with and less than a minute on articles they disagreed with. Interestingly, the study also found that if the website allowed readers to vote, the students spent around 12 seconds less to read the article even if they agreed with it. According to the researchers, having the option to vote on an article allows people to express their opinions on its content. Readers are focused on their own beliefs instead of the content, so they tend to not finish reading it. The researchers noted that some people even chose to vote on articles that they did not read at all. To encourage people to finish reading articles, the researchers recommend that content creators use other forms of engagement, like including a comments section where people can write their opinions. They added that readers should not just click the “vote” button but also read the entire contents of an article and leave thought-provoking comments. The researchers believe that how people express themselves is important and can actually influence how they think about a topic.

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